Premiere Napa Valley wine auction rakes in $3.9M | Air-quality officials sound alarm over Calif. wine emissions | AB InBev: Coronavirus to send Q1 profits plunging
February 27, 2020
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Industry Watch
Last weekend's Premiere Napa Valley auction raised $3.9 million for the Napa Valley Vintners trade group, a roughly $200,000 increase over the previous year. The success can largely be attributed to the exceptional 2018 vintage, which represented about 90% of the auction's lots, with top attractions including bottlings from Darioush, Silver Oak and Duckhorn, Virginie Boone writes.
Full Story: Wine Enthusiast Magazine online (2/26) 
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Regulators in the Monterey, Sonoma and Napa, Calif., winegrowing regions are raising concerns about air quality and ethanol, a volatile organic compound emitted by wine fermentation tanks that can form smoggy ozone under certain conditions. Napa has about a dozen wineries that, based on permit records, are allowed to make more than 1 million gallons of wine per year, which for each 1 million gallons produced, 15-20 tons of volatile organic compounds are emitted.
Full Story: Napa Valley Register (Calif.) (2/26) 
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Anheuser-Busch InBev reported today that it lost about $170 million in profits in the first two months of the year due to sharply diminished demand in China amid the coronavirus outbreak. The world's largest brewer also warned that its first-quarter earnings will likely drop by roughly 10% and that first-quarter results are apt to be its worse in decades.
Full Story: The Drinks Business online (U.K.) (2/27) 
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The prestigious Chateaux Latour in Bordeaux, France, announced it will release its 2012 vintage next month, its first new offering in eight years. The 2012 grand vin is expected to garner considerable interest from wine collectors as a new vintage from a legendary estate, Rupert Millar writes.
Full Story: The Drinks Business online (U.K.) (2/27) 
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State of the Wholesale Supply Chain Industry in 2020
For the third straight year, Blue Ridge asked wholesale supply industry leaders about their challenges, how they're thinking about solving them and how they're dealing with the pace of technological change. One key finding for the 2020 survey is the adoption of new machine learning, such as A.I., which is on the rise as a strategy to combat supply chain disruption. Get the report to read more.
Trends & Innovations
Elevate cocktails with Jamaica's allspice dram
Allspice berries (Pixabay)
Allspice dram is an unexpected liqueur that pairs beautifully with hearty winter spirits such as bourbon, Carey Jones and John McCarthy write. Try using the Jamaican spirit, which delivers a punch of flavor from its namesake spice, mixed with rum, in a martini or in the Lion's Tail cocktail, which blends bourbon and lime juice with the tipple, they write.
Full Story: Food & Wine online (2/26) 
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Why Sonoma vintner Theresa Heredia favors pinot noir
Theresa Heredia, head winemaker for Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma County, Calif., varies her winemaking approach depending on the specific fruit and vineyard she is working with while taking care to "treat it as gently as possible so that we end up with a balanced wine," said Heredia. For special occasions, Heredia recommends two wines from Burgundy that are both based on her favorite grape, the "mysterious and seductive" pinot noir: Echezeaux or Grands Echezeaux.
Full Story: PaperCity (Texas) (2/25) 
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Martha Stoumen founded her eponymous natural wine company six years ago in Sebastopol, Calif., drawing on a stint spent working at an organic farm in Italy after college. In a departure from the practices of many natural winemakers, Stoumen focuses on the farming of the vineyard rather than post-fermentation practices, and she is not averse to adding a bit of sulfur or filtering a wine whose sediment is "muddying the expression," she said.
Full Story: San Francisco Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (2/26) 
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SmartBrief Originals
Government & Regulatory Affairs
Delaware-based Direct Wines and South Carolina-based Wine Awesomeness have settled California lawsuits that alleged the wine club failed to advise consumers that their memberships would automatically renew. In addition to agreeing to correct their automatic-renewal membership practices, Direct Wines will pay $350,000 in civil penalties and costs, and Wine Awesomeness will pay $15,000.
Full Story: North Bay Business Journal (Santa Rosa, Calif.) (2/26) 
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A trolling, disruptive employee needs to be contained by finding allies, reinforcing your organization's story and goals and finding effective ways to respond instead of reacting, writes Scott Eblin. "Choose the dignified response by focusing on what matters and the facts that support the goal," he writes.
Full Story: Eblin Group (2/26) 
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Great leaders possess and develop 10 basic skills, including integrity, humility, a willingness to help and inspiring others to trust them, writes Douglas Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup. "To earn the confidence of your constituents and spread your influence, all of your actions must be tethered to a commitment to honoring people," he writes.
Full Story: Chief Executive (2/26) 
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Members save on Verizon Wireless program
On behalf of WSWA members, DSI has negotiated with Verizon Wireless to provide discounts off monthly service fees as well as many special plan offers. In addition, employees of participating members will save off their monthly service fees (available only to employees of members that are participating in the Verizon Wireless corporate program).  For more details and to sign up for these benefits please contact: Ali Comeaux, DSI General Manager at 303-277-3359 or via email.
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An empty canvas is a living wonder -- far lovelier than certain pictures.
Wassily Kandinsky,
painter, art theorist, pioneer of abstract art
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